This is interesting- well, to me at least. I’m working on an EDM track for a girl and I have about 14 vocal tracks. Back in the day I would have by necessity run at least most of them through an effects bus with a single reverb, with maybe a couple different verbs on the lead racks. As it is, with this new system I’ve been duplicating each track’s properties for the next track, so I have a discrete instance of Black Hole and some other stuff on every single vocal track and the system can do it so no harm, no foul.
What I’m wondering is this: Given that all instances of a reverb will be set the same, has anyone ever done listening tests to determine the difference in sound between a bunch of tracks running through discrete reverbs (or echoes) as opposed to a single one?
I agree, but this is just about verb- do you think there would be a difference. On one hand, running everything through one verb might give the sound more “glue”. Multiples may give more “space”. Maybe that just junks the track up. Maybe every channel reverb having its own full processing power makes a difference. Maybe not. I’m going to try both ways when I get a chance and see if there’s any discernible difference.
I haven’t tried exactly that either, but i have done 3 or 4 vocals with just slightly different lengths and EQ. Of course, you can A/B it and see what works best. I agree that it could have somewhat less “glue” though… there’s something about the way a group of vocals going through 1 verb sounds, and the whole seems to be more than the sum of it’s parts. I’ll be interested to see what you find!
I would say from my experience even if the reverb settings were the same it would be different sounding with all the different reverb instance’s contents summing together making the overall reverb content thicker, more resonant and darker and thereby not providing a natural one instance one virtual space reverb sound. The summing of the separate tracks couldn’t match with the glue of the single instance that does the summing for the reverberant content of all the source tracks. I often use a single reverb bus if I am trying for a hall or room sound in the mix. So many ways to apply effects that I have to say I use other tricks but mostly the bus method. I guess it’s a holdover from from recordings days when I only had one hardware reverb unit and my Tascam mixer and 40-4. I Hope this was on point …
I think it strongly depends on the type of reverb. If we have a strictly linear reverb I don‘t a see a technical reason why it should make a difference. Everything is linear and time invariant which means that the summation before or after the reverb should produce the same signal. A typical type of reverb that should fit would be a simple convolver.
If we talk about algorithmic reverbs like pcm native and the like we will have some modulation going on. If modulation sources are strictly correlated I would not expect a difference again. But it may be there are some randomization processes going on inside. In this case results should differ slightly.
Next type would be those reverbs with non linear behaviour inside. This could be saturation effects or compressors. Here I‘d expect the most noticable difference. F.e. glue effects could really happen.
My 2 cents, kind regards, humphrey
Edit: rethinking the modulation aspect for algorithmic reverbs I have to say that modulation always introduces non linear effects, means: even if modulation sources are correlated the results should differ.
You might think so but… what if it sounds different? What if it’s better? Do you know? For that matter, if you recorded separate recordings of 10 people singing in the same large room and mixed them together, does it sound different than all ten people recorded at the same time in the same room? And does that process translate in an analogous way to an artificial reverb?
In my teaching and consultancy work I see a lot of ‘under 40s’ fixated on insert effects. IME it isn’t a good way to work on either a technical level (eats more resources and makes small changes cumbersome), or artistic level, since it clutters up the mix, especially when lots of different reverbs and delays are chosen. Even when the same effects are chosen, the small randomisations add up and smudge each other out.
In short, it’s all a bit of a kludge.
Choosing an appropriately concise selection of send effects and sharing them for the whole mix produces a more controllable and cohesive result.
Generally I totally agree. EDM is a weird thing though. It’s got its own rules which, really, I’m 30 years too old to really understand. What I’m really doing is Synthwave with an EDM beat under it.
(BTW if anyone is interested I did not stick with 28 instances of Black Hole and UltraReverb on 14 channels. I paired it down to 4 reverbs on 4 busses It did my heart good to know I could though and the CPU wasn’t even at 30%)
I can see the logic behind giving some channels an individual reverb - but with different settings, for coloring. But inserting the exact same reverb on multiple channels instead of using a send bus will - in my expectation - not be significantly audible to be relevant.
The key difference is that an effect on a send mixes the inputs before processing, whilst in the case of insert effects, the ouputs of the individual effects are mixed. The main difference would be any non-linear effects caused by multiple signals adding up on the input of a send bus. I can get this for e.g. an exciter or saturation plugin - the output of multiple channels feeding one saturation would be different than the output of multiple sat plugins set the same. That one is clear and logical. For a reverb, I wouldn’t expect a lot of saturation or other non-linear effects, so my expectation of any difference would be minimal.
But of course, you could simply do an A/B test in any DAW. The only thing you need to make sure of is that you get the level setting and dry/wet mix right, so that the mix stays the same. So you’d need to create a somewhat artificial mix, with the dry/wet ratio the same for all channels
put the same plugin, configured identically on the individual channels of any mix (a sparse one would be better)
copy another instance to the master bus
do one mixdown with only the ones on the channels activated and the one on the master bus bypassed
then one mixdown with only the one on the master bus active and the others bypassed
now you can directly A/B check both mixdowns against each other.
or go and mix both together phase-reversed to get the difference signal
TBH, I’m not really eager to try this - my main reason for having multiple reverbs is to have different flavors of reverb to manage a depth field and for creative effects.
Plus, even if I use a reverb on just one channel, I tend to keep them all as send effects - makes my mixes easier to manage.
It’s completely academic, yes I think the general consensus is that it would make no audible difference for the reasons you and humphrey gave but I still want to do some practical tests some day when I’m very very bored.